We were meandering through the Mercado de Coyoacan, the large market in the Coyoacan neighborhood of Mexico City, strolling through rows of stalls filled with all manner of colorful tchotchkes, home goods and clothing, trying to make our way to the heart of the market where the food was. Along the way, we passed tubs piled high with candy and dried fruit, butchers at refrigerated cases, lunch counters selling tostadas and quesadillas prepared on the spot, and wandering singers and musicians serenading the lunchtime crowd.
In that blur of near-sensory overload, between the colors, sights, sounds and smells, I spotted something out of the corner of my eye as we passed a produce vendor: guavas!
The small, sometimes yellow, sometimes green, tropical fruits are some of my absolute favorites but I rarely eat them. In New York I occasionally see them at supermarkets, but the few times I’ve bought them, they’ve been disappointing, too hard, too dull in flavor.
At the market in Coyoacan, I stopped and picked one up. The smell was sunny and bright, every bit as colorful and tropical as a day at the beach. I tossed a few in a plastic bag and having zero ability to wait until after lunch, bit into one as soon as I could.
If all guavas tasted like these Mexican ones, I’d keep my kitchen stocked with them. I’d have a great big bowl of them, and one at my work desk, too. There’d be guavas in my purse and my gym bag, a guava for any and every time of day ’cause they were seriously some of the best fruit I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating.
About the size of a lemon, these guavas were a pale yellow on the outside, and a similar, slightly lighter color inside (though in the past, I’ve had some with a darker green skin and a coral-pink inside). They had the consistency of a pear, with smooth skin and a juicy, fibrous inside, flecked with smooth, slippery seeds. This wasn’t just nature’s candy, it was the whole damn candy aisle in paradise.
My only regret was not buying more of them to have during my stay, and if it wasn’t for the US’s pesky rules about what kind of food you can bring in from other countries, I would’ve gone back and filled a suitcase with them.